John Carlson Skates With Team, Martin Fehervary Practices In Regular Full-Contact Jersey, Line Changes: Notes From Capitals Wednesday Practice At MedStar

The Washington Capitals returned home from the west coast on Tuesday following their 4-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night. The Capitals next face the New Jersey Devils on Thursday at Capital One Arena. Puck drop is set for 7PM ET.


John Carlson, who has been out since being hit in the head by a shot on December 23, skated with the team for the first time, in a non-contact jersey. He has another doctor’s appointment today. He will meet with the media this week.

Martin Fehervary (lower body injury) skated in a full contact jersey, indicating he is close to returning to the lineup. Nick Jensen skated in a non-contact jersey. Jensen will “most likely” be unavailable tomorrow against the Devils but Fehervary is “more of a day-to-day situation” and could suit up, per Peter Laviolette.

The Capitals forward lines and defensive pairs for the Capitals at Wednesday’s practice:

Alex Ovechkin — Evgeny Kuznetsov — Anthony Mantha
Sonny Milano  — Nicklas Backstrom — Tom Wilson
Conor Sheary — Dylan Strome — T.J. Oshie
Aliaksei Protas — Nic Dowd — Nicolas Aube-Kubel

Rasmus Sandin — Trevor van Riemsdyk
Alex Alexeyev – Martin Fehervary
Matt Irwin – Gabriel Carlsson

Extras: Vinny Iorio, John Carlson, Nick Jensen

Craig Smith did not practice. He went back to Boston to collect belongings. Will be back tomorrow.


Nate Wessel, from Glenwood, lived out his dream with the Washington Capitals. The 14-year-old signed a contract with the Capitals.

Nate was at MedStar Capitals Iceplex with Make-A-Wish Mid Atlantic. He has had three open heart surgeries and is thriving!


The Capitals were trounced in possession metrics in their last game. The Kings led in five-on-five shot attempts, 53-27, scoring chances 33-12, high-danger chances, 19-4, expected goals for percentage, 79.03% to 20.97% and expected goals for 3.55 to .94. – the Capitals worst possession metrics for a game this season (65 games).

As a result, the Capitals team expected goals for percentage has sunk to 50.75%, the lowest it’s been since mid-December.

[The statistics used in this post are courtesy of Natural Stat Trick, MoneyPuck and the NoVa Caps Advanced Analytics Model (NCAAM). If you’d like to learn more about the statistical terms used in this post, please check out our NHL Analytics Glossary]


Joe Snively continues his impressive play in Hershey. He made an eye-popping cross-ice feed to setup Mike Vecchione for a score over the weekend.

Bogdan Trineyev and Dynamo Moscow face Nizhny Novgorod in game 4 of their first round playoff series on Wednesday. Dynamo leads the series 2-1. Trineyev, 21, has an assist in the first three games of the series.

The Hershey Bears announced today that forward Kale Kessy has been traded to the Colorado Eagles in exchange for future considerations.


  • This British pop star had the Capitals blueliner all starry eyed. Player Q and A – Martin Fehervary [NHLPA]
  • New Blue Jakub Vrana relishes fresh start after a tough go in Detroit [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

  • Sharks’ Erik Karlsson gets 10-minute misconduct for throwing helmet after non-call [the Score]

  • Retiring Nashville Predators GM David Poile hoping he has set up team for a bright future [Ottawa Sun]

  • And finally, T.J. Oshie retuning home after a long road trip, regardless of results, puts a smile on anybody’s face. 😁

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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25 Responses to John Carlson Skates With Team, Martin Fehervary Practices In Regular Full-Contact Jersey, Line Changes: Notes From Capitals Wednesday Practice At MedStar

  1. Anonymous says:

    The “new day, new lines” philosophy continues!

    • hockeydruid says:

      Yeah, but I would rather see the following: Mantha as he seems to have lost his ability to score, put him on the 4th line and tell him get your scoring touch back and we will consider moving you up and if you dont then we will consider making you a healthy scratch; Protas 1st line forward as he has size and speed and most of all needs the experience there that he will not get on the 4th line; Strome to 1st line C, Kuzy to 2nd line C and when Smith is back he is the 3rd line C and Backy is a wing on the 3rd line; and finally for the D if Fehervary and Jensen are ready to play then sit Irwin and play one of the younger D-men like Orio or Carlsson.

      Personally I feel that there is no need to bring Carlson back this season; let him recover and prepare for next season and let the younger players get some experience and above all sit Irwin the coaches lackey and play the younger players especially now that he has his 1 goal for the season. .

      • Jon Sorensen says:

        Protas has worked extremely well on the 4th line, but unfortunately that was with Hathaway, so I’m not sure what we got with him now on the 4th line. Worth a look. Tall text tomorrow.

        • hockeydruid says:

          Like you said that was with Hathaway. Would be interesting to see if he was handed a bigger assignment like being on the first line how he would respond over several games. Somehow at this point I think that maybe his ability to score a goal, although he has not scored many, might be better than that of Mantha and playing with goal scorers like Oviie and Strome should pick up his game. I know many people are more concerned about getting into the playoffs; however at this stage of the retool or rebuild making the playoffs really does nothing for this team except get them lower draft picks. It really would be nice to see the younger players on both sides of the puck getting more playing time and Ill toss this one out there, how about bringing up either Shepard or Fucale and giving them a few games

  2. Anonymous says:

    Good to get Marty back. Hopefully Jensen isn’t far behind.

  3. KimRB says:

    Of course. When you have an opportunity to play youngsters, and see what you’ve got in them, you bring the vets back from injury, and relegate the kids back to the press box.

    Oh well. I guess the doctors decide when John can play again. C’est La vie

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      I get what your saying, but the team was smoked, defensively last game. I like the addition of Protas to the 4th line, too. It’s been overdue.

      • GRin430 says:

        The team got smoked, but that wasn’t necessarily the kid D’s fault. In particular, the Kings first and third goals were due to blown coverage/lack of effort by first Kuznetsov and then Strome and Smith, who each appeared to think the other was supposed to cover the guy in the slot, so neither did.

        Bringing Carlson back to win an extra game or two this year is pointless. Playing either Carlson or Irwin might be useful if they can be good mentors to the kids, and I just have no idea if that’s happening. At this point the Caps should care more about seeing what Iorio can do than about playing Carlson or Carlsson, but if they have to play one or the other of those two, I’d rather see Carlsson.

        PLAY THE KIDS!!!

        • Jon Sorensen says:

          Iorio made 75% offensive shift zone starts, which is considered “protected, meaning the team was protecting him from play in the defensive zone. When we see 50% or better in d-zone, we will know he’s getting closer.

          Alexeyev, for example, is starting to see a majority of his zone starts in the defensive zone (not always the case), part because the trust is building and part out of necessity.

          Can’t expect wins at this point, if Caps are truly giving the kids experience. I think some want the kids to play, but also expect wins. “Play the kids” is a common battle cry, but that doesn’t mean they are ready to play NHL games.

          • GRin430 says:

            As you know, I’m perfectly happy playing the kids and losing at this point, though they’ve already won too many games to rise too much in the draft order unless they truly tank, and I doubt that’s going to happen. But there really is no harm in losing at this point, and even though Detroit is the only team currently below them in the standings that has a good chance of passing them, increasing the odds by 0.5% is better than nothing, which is what they will gain for finishing 12-21 in the standings and having zero chance at the #1 pick.

  4. Anonymous says:

    When ovi got off to a hot start I believe protas was on his line. Manthas done . Will go down as the worst trade ever. Maybe we can get a 7th rounder for him. As for carlson, anybody who thinks having him back will improve thier defense , wasn’t not watching him play before he got hurt. Just another old guy coming back and not producing…
    Like backy.

    • KimRB says:

      It was a bad trade, garbage in, and garbage out, but losing the 1st round pick hurt badly, especially when it was used on Wyatt Johnston, who is now Dallas’ 3rd line center, and set a Stars record for most goals, 15, by a teenager. But this trade pales in comparison to Forsberg for Erat-Latta. Erat and Latta career stats for Washington: 42 points. Career points for Forsberg in Nashville: 511……and counting

      • Anonymous says:

        Why does it matter whom the Stars drafted after trading for a pick from the Wings that the Caps traded to the Wings? The Caps drafted centers in the first round in each of the two previous seasons. Even with your fictitious armchair GM’ing well after the fact, the Caps weren’t getting Johnson. Period.

        • KimRB says:

          You berate me for armchair GMing, then turn around and do the same yourself. Hypocrisy much?

          How do you know who they would have drafted? You draft the best player available…..ALWAYS! If the team has drafted ten centers in a row, and needs a defenseman, and the best player available is another center, then you draft your 11th center in a row, or trade down. If the Caps scouts and GMs went “Oh we drafted two centers in a row in the 1st round, we can’t draft a third!” they shouldn’t be employed in the NHL

          • Anonymous says:

            Ross Mahoney said at the time “I thought maybe where we were picking, there might be defensemen that were going to be available,” says Caps assistant general manager Ross Mahoney, the engineer of the Washington drafts for the last quarter of a century. “We’ve always said that we’ll take the best player, but I think that it was good too to get some defensemen, and the first couple are right-handed defensemen, which I think also helps to fill a bit of a void that we have, as far as young defensemen.”

            So yes, it’s unlikely that the Capitals would have drafted a center, given that the guy who drafts for the team said so himself.

            • KimRB says:

              You’re moving the goalposts, for one thing. First it was “they wouldn’t have drafted Johnston…..PERIOD!” Now it becomes “unlikely”

              And you berated me for speaking after the fact. That’s exactly what Mahoney did. He said those words after the draft, long after the team had traded that pick. So let me translate what he said: “We didn’t have our 1st round pick anymore, but I didn’t like any of the players that were available, for the pick we no longer had anyway, so let me rationalize it by saying that we were looking for defensemen, who weren’t there in any case, so we did the right thing”

              I don’t mind you disagreeing with me, but please don’t accuse me of what you do, and don’t criticize me for something, and turn around and quote from a man who is doing exactly what you’re criticizing me for doing

            • KimRB says:

              After readinh Mahoney’s words again, let me explain what he said said:

              “I thought maybe where we were picking, there might be defensemen that were going to be available,”

              WHERE we were picking. That’s the 55th pick he was talking about, not the 23rd pick that was traded to Detroit, and used to pick Johnston

              “, it’s unlikely that the Capitals would have drafted a center, given that the guy who drafts for the team said so himself.”

              No he didn’t. You need some reading comprehension classes

  5. Anonymous says:

    Rearranging the deck chairs…

  6. Anonymous says:

    What was the exact injury(s) that Carlson faced?

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s a mystery. Up there with Bigfoot and flight MH370.

      • Dave says:

        Presumably a concussion. He got hit in the head square on with a ~95 mph shot

        • KimRB says:

          Concussion definitely, but I was thinking maybe there was a broken bone(s) as well. A skull fracture, or even a cheek bone fracture, would be nothing to take lightly

  7. Dave says:

    Interesting blueline set up. Has Fehervary ever played on the right side before?

    • KimRB says:

      Fehervary was interviewed on NBCSW, after Jensen went down, and right before he himself got injured. He said he was fine playing either side, it was all the same to him.

      I know Alexeyev has also. He played on the right side in Hershey, with Lucas Johansen

  8. Dave says:

    Thanks for the info. I suspected Alexeyev could. The Soviets used to always train their D to play both sides and they seem to have continued that. Orr-lov has played a lot on the right side in Boston.

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